Friday, September 30, 2005

Maury! Maury! Maury!

What follows is an account of my visit (with my brother and 3 friends) to a taping of the daytime talk show maury in what was formerly the Grand Ballroom of the Pennsylvania Hotel:

Let me start out by saying that I have rarely felt more out of place. The make up of the audience was 75-80% minority and 75-80% female. I am neither. It is amazing to me how an upper-class Jew like Maury has become such a beacon of hope and entertainment for mostly black and hispanic females. After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we were each given a number and ushered through a metal detector into a dingy waiting room just outside the studio.

This was my badge of dishonor:

Being in the studio was like being in a different universe. Everything there was fake, from the bricks to the columns to the word "Aight" coming out of Maury's mouth. In addition, as Dan pointed out, it was like being inside a casino, except louder. With rap music blaring, lights everywhere, and not a clock to be found, it could have been any time of day from 8 AM to 11 PM (it was actually about 10 AM).

After we waited awhile, they asked a number of women to volunteer to come on stage and dance. Maury himself finally arrived on stage and decided to grind with 4 women before he even said a word. Needless to say, we loved every moment of it.

This was a lot introduction to the actual taping, but the action that followed was worth the wait. The first segment was called "I've got a secret." Here, a woman would come out and tell her long-term boyfriend or husband a terrible secret about herself in the privacy of Maury's studio, with only 200+ total strangers around (with who knows how many more people waiting to see her on television). Luckily for her, I think that these secrets were actually told to the men earlier, so that extremely violent reactions would not take place. Nevertheless, here is one example:

Woman: "[Insert name], I love you very much, but I have to tell you that I have been a prostitute for the past 5 years during which we have been dating."
Man: "Are you serious?!? And we were still so poor?"
Maury: "Now, hold on, isn't there something else that you want to tell your man?"
Woman: "Yes, [insert baby name] might not be your baby." (Man storms off stage, woman follows, camera follows)

It is a neat little formula. The final step involves Maury suggesting a 48-hour paternity test.

Which leads us to the second type of segment: the paternity test revelation. This segment was called "Who's your daddy?" In fact, while waiting to get into the studio, I had hoped that every segment would be known by exactly this name.

Here, the audience is told to cheer for the woman and boo the man at every turn until Maury actually reveals the test results. So, a typical segment goes something like this:

She says: "That deadbeat fathered my baby, I'm 1000% sure! He just don't want to take care of it. He be spendin' all his time with little 14-year-olds now." (Raucous cheers from the audience.)
Maury: "And now let's bring out [insert name]."
Audience: "Booooooooo!"
He says: "Y'all are crazy, I would never have a baby with that no good lowlife ho! See that little boy don't even look nothing like me." (He points at split-screen of himself next to the baby. More booing.)
Maury: "Alright, well, let's see the results of the test: (in huge bold type) [insert name] is NOT the father of your baby." (Crowd erupts in cheers. Man gets cell phone numbers of girls in front row. Rich and friends laugh a lot.)

The guy sitting in front of me says to his friends: "You know, I can't believe this, this is so terrible. Just think about the kids who have to grow up with these kinds of parents."

Welcome to America my friend.


  1. Jenevieve: He said he was gonna be a big shot at Sports Illustrated. That he'd take care of everything.

    Crowd: BOOOOOOO!

    Maury: Well, let's bring him out!

    Crowd: BOOOOOOO!

    Rich: This is astonishing that I'm actually on this show. Amazing! Maury, it's incredible that your conception of entertainment has devolved into this.

    Maury: Act black.

    Rich: Oh right. I think Martin Lawrence is a legitamately soild comedian. Additionally, a dispropotionate amount of people I've met in my life procure items using food stamps.

    Maury: And the results---Rich, You are NOT the father!

    Crowd: minority women.. boo. boo. women. minorities!

  2. This post moved me to tears. The thought of you boys at Maury made me more jealous than you could possibly know.